THE creative industries are the fastest growing sector of the UK economy. What do we mean when we talk about the “creative industries”?
The UK Government describes them as “those industries which have their origin in individual creativity, skill and talent”, and they span everything from advertising, architecture and heritage through to video games, performance, and publishing.
Worth more to the UK economy than the oil and gas, life sciences, automotive and aerospace industries combined, the UK’s creative industries are growing twice as fast as the UK economy as a whole.
We hear about the under-development of English regions compared with the economic precedence of London, with the loss of steel, engineering and mining having a major impact.
But the creative industries in Yorkshire are frequently outstripping their equivalents in the capital.
Although best known for its industrial past, Yorkshire was named the UK’s leading region for creative industries in May 2018, with Creative England’s annual CE50 list of the 50 most talented and able young enterprises containing a total of 10 from Yorkshire – more than any other region.
From Bradford to Sheffield, Hull to Leeds, Huddersfield to Barnsley and everywhere in between, the creative industries in this area contributed £2.57bn in GVA to the UK economy in 2016.
A prominent success story is Hull, the UK Capital of Culture, which last year demonstrated how meaningful investment in urban regeneration through culture and creativity can create change which resonates through a whole city.
In Hull, almost 800 new jobs were created in the visitor economy and cultural sector since 2013, with tourism in 2017 contributing more than £300m to the economy and three in four residents saying they were proud to live in the city.
Yorkshire’s film and TV sectors are also growing faster than anywhere else in the country – Screen Yorkshire’s £15m Yorkshire Content Fund has invested in productions ranging from Dad’s Army through to Peaky Blinders and National Treasure. Between 2016 and 2017, Yorkshire and Humber’s film and television industries generated an annual turnover that increased by more than twice the national average.
While London was, for a long time, the most popular filming location in the UK, film and TV crews are more and more often moving away from the capital to set up in the North, and particularly in Yorkshire. This growing industry is largely due to the incredible shooting locations in the area, from beautiful landscapes and historic architecture through to the grittier urban parts of the cities.
It’s not only in film that Yorkshire is flourishing. In Sheffield, Barclays and Kollider have announced a new partnership agreement that will see the bank launch its first Eagle Lab tech incubator for the entire Yorkshire area, nurturing hundreds of young firms through shared services, support, and some form of financing.
More generally, Yorkshire’s creative industries are booming thanks to growing support from councils across the region.
These creative businesses are vital, then, to the health and improvement of the economy in Yorkshire but also throughout the UK as a whole. What, then, do these creative businesses need to continue to thrive and grow?
First, local policy-makers must build on this success and properly support creative businesses across the region. There must be help to discover the existing finance and funding schemes which could genuinely work for them. Success must be shared equally across Yorkshire’s towns and cities, instead of benefitting only certain existing areas of high growth.
By bringing together up to 100 individuals from businesses across Yorkshire, the Creative Industries Federation’s Creative Yorkshire event at the Hepworth Wakefield on July 17 will explore all of these issues and more. In this practical session, which is free to attend, we will explore new avenues of support for the creative industries and hear from local businesses themselves about what they need to succeed. We hope to see you there.
John Kampfner is chief executive of the Creative Industries Federation.